Summary: dealing with difficult times of ministry
"When Christ Didn’t Do Miracles"
Intro: We’ve been going through the book of Matthew. Last week we saw the different parables of the kingdom. Let’s go on and look at Matthew 13, starting in verse 53.
"When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there."
Jesus knew when it was time to move on. So often we miss that important decision. Jesus had been teaching the people all about the kingdom. The disciples were questioning him about deeper meanings. Yet Jesus chooses to go on.
How often are we content to stay at the same point in our lives. It’s nice to sit in church and hear the word of God taught. But we need to move on. It’s nice to sing songs of praise. But we need to put our faith into action. We cannot be content to sit back on a relationship that we had years ago when we were younger.
Jesus moves on and goes to his hometown. Many times we avoid going to minister in certain places. Jesus knew it would not be easy to go to his hometown, but he goes anyways. Jesus does not shy away from difficult times of ministry.
Let’s see the response Jesus gets as he goes back home.
Coming to his home town [Nazareth], he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. "Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?" they asked.
"Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?" And they took offence at him.
But Jesus said to them, "Only in his home town and in his own house is a prophet without honour." And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.
What lessons can we learn in these verses.
I. We lose effective ministry when we underestimate the gifts of others.
A. Family & friends can have significant ministry - many times the last person you want to get advice or help from is someone close to you. Many times you want your spouse to be wrong. You sometimes want to turn away from those who are close.
*It is hardest to minister to those closest to you
*It can be hard to accept that a good friend becomes an expert in their field
*It can be hard to forget past failure of those close to us
"Well yeah, but remember when you . . ."
As we look around this sanctuary, realize that the ministry of this church will largely be done by friends, family members, if you will. We can never refuse to let someone use their gifts simply because they are a close friend.
B. Those who are not Paid Professionals can minister - Many times there is a mentality that if you receive a paycheck or have a title that authenticates you. I believe in training and position, but don’t ignore advice from a friend simply because they do not have a title.
Darwin Dunten -- EMT first responder -- kids sick, Polly wanted to take to doctor--same advice
II. We lose effective ministry when we serve only for the honor given to us
Jesus comes knowing he does not receive honor in his hometown. Yet, he still comes and teaches. Even if we know others will not receive us or respond well, we still have a duty to be obedient to God.
How humble are you in your service. If no one thanks you or praises your work, are you still excited about serving? Do you need credit? Do you need to brag about yourself? If others don’t acknowledge you, are you still content to serve faithfully?
III. We lose effective ministry when we do not have the faith to believe God will work
Miracles are accomplished by faith. If we want to see God work, we must have faith.
Time after time as Jesus healed people, he said they were healed in response to their faith.
If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed . . .
Where do we get faith? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Do you want to increase your faith? Then get in the word of God. If you know someone who needs greater faith, don’t try to reason with them to increase their faith: get them studying the word of God.
If we don’t have great faith, we won’t see great miracles. Jesus does few miracles. The parallel account is in Mark 6, where it says, He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their lack of faith.